…says Africa loses $60bn annually from illicit financial outflow
President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that the rising insecurity crisis in the country and Africa at large was being sponsored by individuals who benefit from illegal financial activities.
The President, yesterday, called on security agencies in the continent, especially the intelligence community, to tighten the loop against illicit financial flows.
Buhari stated this while delivering a keynote address at the opening session of the 16th Conference of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) in Abuja.
The event held at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters.
According to the President, development and stability on the African continent had been undermined by illicit outflows estimated to be about $60 billion annually.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, in a statement, quoted Buhari as saying that: “Frankly, we may never know the true extent of the damage. Estimates, however, suggest that African countries lose over $60 billion annually due to illicit financial outflows, a staggering amount for a continent in dire need of development finance.
“Corroborating this figure, a United Nations Report on ‘Illicit Financial Flows and the Problem of Net Resource Transfers from Africa: 1980-2009,’ observed that during the period 1980 to 2009 between $1.2 trillion and $1.4 trillion was taken out of Africa. This figure is half of the current Gross Domestic Products of all the countries of Africa,” he said.
Buhari noted that the theme for the conference, “Illicit Financial Outflows from Africa and its impact on National Security and Development,” was most timely, urging stakeholders from the intelligence community of the 52 African countries to create a template of risk factors and actionable strategies and give priority to examining the links between crime and instability on our continent.
The President also challenged the conference to put measures in place that will ensure terrorists and criminals were denied access to financial systems.
“Criminals and their collaborators cheat the system through various practices, including trade mis-pricing, trade mis-invoicing, tax abuse and evasion, as well as money laundering. Several unfair commercial agreements and illegal resource extraction by multinational companies, in cahoots with their local collaborators, also create routes for illicit financial outflows.
“As partners in the fight against crime and insecurity, you know that terrorist networks, organized criminal syndicates of drugs, arms and human traffickers and sundry hostile non-state actors are actively undermining the security and stability of our countries,” he added.
President Buhari said firm and unwavering action will be required to bring threats under control, noting that “any evasion of rules and regulations in ways that aid corruption in its various manifestations, including illicit financial outflows, must be vigorously fought and defeated.”
According to him, “My role as African Union’s Anti-Corruption Champion brought me closer to appreciating more the devastating impact of corruption and illicit financial outflows on our continent.
“I am, therefore, pleased that this conference will boost the sense of urgency that we collectively have about this devastation and raise our response capacity at operational levels. In Nigeria, we have risen to the challenge. The fight against corruption remains at the core of our efforts to accelerate national development. We have recorded successes even though the perpetrators are not giving up and are trying to fight back.”
President Buhari commended CISSA, which was established in Nigeria in 2004, for its consistency in networking for 15 years, admonishing that the future goals of curbing illicit flows will not be easy, and would require robust efforts and resolute commitment by individual services in order to lay the solid base for the collaborative efforts to address the daunting challenges.
In his remark, Chairman of African Union Commission, Musa Faki Mahamat, said terrorism, radicalisation, sponsored by illicit flows, continuously affect growth on the continent, while ethnicity and religious diversities had been exploited for political gains.
The Chairman, represented by the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui, said the internet had been used as valid platform for recruitment of people into criminal activities, noting that terrorists also use sophisticated technology like drones.
The Director General of NIA, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, said conservative estimates suggest that, cumulatively, Africa lost well over $1 trillion in over five decades, adding that Africa loses more through illicit financial outflows than it gets in aid and Foreign Direct Investment.
Probe Amosun, suspended council chairmen ask EFCC, ICPC
Twenty suspended local government chairmen in Ogun State on Monday asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to probe the allocation of local government funds under the immediate past administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
Under the aegis of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), the suspended chairmen alleged that all revenues were taken over by ministries and parastatals at the behest of the former governor “who governed with fiat.”
Addressing a press conference in Abeokuta, the ALGON Chairman, Semiu Lawal, also dissociated themselves from the planned legal action against the Governor Dapo Abiodun-led administration over their suspension by the state House of Assembly.
The suspended chairmen said they were not interested in any legalistic exercise but will explore political option to resolve the crisis.
Lawal, who was accompanied by 19 other colleagues, declared that one Barrister Monday Ubani, did not have their mandate to approach the court to challenge the suspension of local government chairmen.
It will be recalled that Ubani, last week, threatened legal action against the state government and the House of Assembly, saying alleged suspension of chairmen of 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas was illegal, unconstitutional and void having been duly elected for a three-year term which would expire in October.
Eko Disco kicks as customers’ assault on staff worsens
- Man faces prosecution over knife attack on Disco’s staff
Buhari directs military, paramilitary, hospitals to source uniforms from local textile firms
Military and paramilitary institutions, including hospitals henceforth must source official uniforms of their personnel from the local textile firms in line with the dictate of Executive Order 3.
This was the directive of President Muhammdu Buhari as disclosed yesterday by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
Emefiele stated this during a meeting with Service Chiefs and heads of paramilitary agencies as part of efforts to revamp textile and garment industries from total collapse.
The CBN governor said he called for the meeting based on information that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have not made any significant order for uniforms or clothing materials from Nigerian textile manufacturers and garment companies.
“We have put in place necessary mechanisms to ensure use of high yielding varieties that will produce top quality fabrics and those that can compete in the international market.
“We have also observed that our textile factories are carrying huge quantities of unsold stock while our garment factories are idle due to lack of local patronage. We are optimistic that with your support, this trend can be reversed.
“We have the mandate of Mr. President to ensure that all uniformed services and theatre wears in hospitals and medical facilities be sourced locally from the Nigerian CTG sector. “
To ensure the success of the Presidential Order, he said the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has been notified to enforce compliance among MDAs.
“Our model in achieving this presidential directive is to facilitate long term contracts (five years or more) with our textile and garment factories to produce uniforms for our armed forces and uniform services using local fabrics and textile materials.
“We are not naive of the fact that the nature of your jobs will warrant special quality and security around the production of your wares.
“My team will work with your nominees toward ensuring requisite quality and security associated with your uniforms.
“Your nominees will also join our team to inspect the various textiles and garment factories to ensure their readiness to be engaged on long term contracts to forestall breaches.
“We shall work out payment terms that fit budget releases for uniforms for various organisations,” he added.
Yesterday’s meeting of CBN governor with top officials of military and para-military and stakeholders in textile industry was a continuation of similar one held months ago designed to revive Nigerian textile industry through enforcement of Executive Order 003 on Support of Local Content in Procurement by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.
The CBN governor said the bank has secured backing of the president in its quest to revive cotton, textile and garment (CTG) industry.
He said the priority placed on the sector was hinged on the conviction that it has the capacity to transform Nigeria’s rural economy and revive the textile and garment industries by creating over two million jobs; improve internal revenue across three tiers of government, and reduce $4 billion import bill incurred annually on textile and apparel.
“This event symbolizes our commitment to attain self-sufficiency in cotton production with a view to serving the textile and garment segments of the value chain with quality inputs as we target zero importation by the year 2020. I have been holding meetings with the CTG sector stakeholders toward reviving Nigeria’s textile sector.
“We analysed the huge potentials that exist in the sector, identified the challenges militating against the sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s growth and development and presented quick wins for reviving the sector.
“Crucial to this resolve is the call for patriotism and the need to support local manufacturers of textile through patronage by MDAs as entrenched in Executive Order 003.
“Mr. President has directed full compliance with this Order as it will help in addressing the pressure on our foreign reserves through demands for forex for the importation of textile and clothing materials,” Emefiele said.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, represented by Major-General Joel Onigbe, Buratai said the Army has been sourcing its uniform locally since 2015.
Buhari lauds private sector support for poor Nigerians
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday commended the Chanrai family for their commitment to the development of Nigeria through long-term investments, and humanitarian services, providing free health services to the underprivileged.
The President stated this yesterday at the commissioning of the Tulsi Chanrai Hospital in Abuja.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, in a statement, quoted Buhari as saying that the family’s investments in the country since Nigeria’s independence clearly showed a dedication to the wellbeing of Nigerians, especially by channeling resources into making life better for many, mostly the poor.
He said: “I am very pleased to note their contribution to check and prevent avoidable blindness by restoring the vision of more than 120,000 Nigerians, free of charge. These services will now be enhanced with this state of the art hospital in the heart of Nigeria,’’ he said.
Buhari said the Chanrai family was initially involved in trading and industrial manufacturing, with plants in various parts of the country, engaging in processing, and has branched into humanitarian activities.
“The vision of the Tulsi Chanrai Foundation is to ‘build a healthy Nigeria’. Since its inception, the Foundation has been instrumental in implementing several projects related to Primary Health Care, Eye Care and Safe drinking water, throughout the country.
“In addition, I am informed that the foundation is engaged in rehabilitation of boreholes program across Nigeria, covering 32 states. So far, they have rehabilitated more than 7,000 boreholes providing safe drinking water to more than three million Nigerians,’’ the President added.
In his remarks, Mr Jagdish Chanrai, Chairman Tulsi Chanrai Foundation, said more than 60 per cent of services will be targeted at the poor, especially in restoring sight and correcting defects, noting that the hospital, which commenced services in January, had attended to 6, 400 patients and performed over 1,000 eye surgeries, with 850 of them provided free.
TCN recovers 775 stranded containers
… Targets 10000MW wheeling capacity
The Managing Director Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr. Usman Gur Mohammed on Wednesday night in Abuja revealed that the company has recovered 775 stranded containers from 800 units abandoned for over 10 years at the ports, adding that the contents have been used to complete several substations including the brand new Damaturu, Maiduguri and Ilashe substations.
He said with this completion the Company would raise the wheeling capacity to 10,000 megawatts (MW) by re-conductoring seven critical lines nationwide this year.
According to him, by December 2018, TCN achieved 8,100MW wheeling capacity and hopes to step it up this 2019.
Mohammed stressed that as part of effort to attain the 10,000MW, TCN would procure quad conductors, a high capacity conductor that could carry more bulk power capacity on the same transmission line.
He stated: “The conductors which we procure are lighter than the current conductors and can carry two and half times more power. Half of these conductors are arriving Nigeria on the 27th of this month.
“These seven critical lines include Onitsha-Awka-Oji River lines, the Ikeja West-Alimosho-Ogba-Ota line and the Alimosho-Alausa line. The rest are: Kaduna-Zaria-Funtua-Gusau line, Birnin Kebbi-Sokoto, Aba-Itu, and Kumbotso-Dan-Agundi 132kV transmission line.
“By doing that, we are going to recover between 2000 and 3,000MW which means the grid will shift from 8,100MW to at least 10,000MW.”
I did my best to address security challenges in Zamfara, says Yari
Former Zamfara Governor, Abdul’aziz Yari, on Monday defended his handling of the security situation in the state, saying he did his best to tackle the problem.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Yari made the remarks in Talata-Mafara at a meeting of All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders from Gusau, Maradun and Tsafe local government areas.
“I am using this opportunity on behalf of the entire APC members in Zamfara state to condole people of Maradun and Tsafe local government areas over recent bandits’ attacks in their communities.
“We pray to almighty Allah to grant the deceased Aljannatul Firdausi and give their families the fortitude to bear the loss.
“You know, during my administration I tried my best to tackle the problem through some people were accusing us thinking that we have not done well to address the problem.
“We are not saying this because we are happy with what is happening, but people should avoid judgement based on personal or political interests.
“As I always say, the issue of security is beyond political or personal interest, we should support President Buhari in fighting banditry in the state”, the former governor said.
Yari also appealed to people of the state to continue to pray and seek for Allah’s interventions to end the problem.
In his remarks during the meeting, the Chairman of Maradun Local Government, Alhaji Ahmad Abubakar said the security challenges in the area had escalated.
According to him, several communities have been attacked in the last one month, with the attacks occuring daily throughout last week.
His counterpart of Tsafe local government area, Alhaji Aminu Mudi thanked the former governor over his concern for the people of the state. (NAN)
PHOTOS: Protest in Taraba as youths rejects FG’s Ruga settlement for herdsmen
Youths in Jalingo, Taraba state, have taken to the streets, rejecting the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government’s planned Ruga settlements in the state.
The federal government’s National Livestock Transformation Scheme plans to establish ranches in Lau, Zing, Ibi and Sarduana local government areas of the state.
The protesting youths insisted that the ranching model proposed by Governor Darius Ishaku was the panacea to real peace in the state.
They, therefore, urged the state government to enforce the anti-open grazing and ranching law established in 2017.
Court orders arrest of Amaju Pinnick, other NFF officials over alleged $8m fraud
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Monday, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, as well as four other officials of the organisation accused of misappropriating funds belonging to the football body.
According to reports, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu gave the order after defendants were absent in court.
Ojukwu also ordered the arrest of NFF Secretary, Sanusi Mohammed; the 1st Vice-President, Seyi Akinwumi; the 2nd Vice-President, Shehu Dikko and an Executive member, Yusuff Fresh.
Sen. Ndume weeps as he urges IDPs to return home
Sen. Ali Ndume (APC-Borno) has urged all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Gwazo taking refuge in Maiduguri, to return home, assuring them of their safety.
Ndume made the call on Monday while addressing the IDPs in Bakassi and Gubio camps in Maiduguri.
The lawmaker, who was intermittently wiping tears with handkerchief, expressed disappointment that the IDPs from Gwoza had yet to be resettled even when normalcy had returned to the town.
He said that insurgency had reduced many people in Gwoza to almost beggars and they had to wait to be given handouts in the camp before they could feed.
“The Palestinian IDPs camp has been existing for 60 years; in Kenya, it existed for about 30 years.
“So, insecurity cannot be completely eliminated. We must therefore defy fears, summon courage and be resilient in order to achieve permanent solution to our problems.
“It is understood that some of them are traumatised because of what happened to them and they are scared they may be attacked again while some are thinking of what to do when they go back home.
“We have people of Izge and Limakara who lived inside the deep mountains, but have consistently defeated Boko Haram because they are resilient, focused, vigilant and always at alert.
“Because of their resilience, they are now expanding their territories; we can also do the same in Gwoza,” he said.
Ndume said that government had already made efforts to rehabilitate and reconstruct many residential homes, schools, clinics, palace and other social ammenities to enhance civic authority.
“The Federal Government is also focusing on rehabilitation and resetlement of IDPs through the North East Development Commission (NEDC) with an approved take-off sum of N95 billion,” he said.
Ndume recalled that the European Union recently committed about N8 billion to support Post Insurgency Response, Recovery and Resilience for the IDPs in the education sector.
The senator said Gwoza was among the nine local government areas to benefit from the intervention.
In the area of security, he lauded the Nigerian armed forces for adopting proactive modalities to secure returnees in their farmlands, homes and markets places.
Ndume expressed optimism that many farmers would record bumper harvests this cropping season, in view of improvement on security of lives and property.
“Improved security situation and support from humanitarian organisations have encouraged many farmers from Firgi, Pulka, Warabe and Kirawa communities in Gwoza to go back to their farms this year,” he said.
NAN recalled that in August 2014, Boko Haram captured Gwoza town with a population of 275,000 people and declared it the headquarters of its “caliphate.
It was later liberated by the Nigerian military.
The Boko Haram insurgency had allegedly killed more than 27,000 people and displaced 1.8 million others in the North-East. (NAN)
EFCC to Saraki: Be ready to face trial
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has asked former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to prepared to appear in court “shortly”, to answer questions bordering on his tenure as Governor of Kwara State.
According to the EFCC, the ongoing investigation of the former Senate President was not personal, but a constitutional activity to enrhrone accountability in the polity.
It described as “false” claims Saraki was said to have made outside the country.
A statement by the Acting Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Tony Orilade, reads: “The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to the false claim made by the former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who in the face of ongoing investigation against him here in Nigeria, seems to have chosen outside the shores of Nigeria as the launch pad of his campaign of calumny against the EFCC and its leadership.
“We wish to state without any contradiction that the ongoing investigation against former Senate President and other Politically-exposed Persons (PeP) are on course while Saraki and his co-travellers will surely have their day in court shortly.
Particularly, of reference is the report…titled, “Magu begged me to help his confirmation by the Senate, Saraki tells CJ Kafarati”, in which Saraki deviously chose to divert attention from the weighty allegations of financial fraud trailing his eight years stewardship in Kwara State and leadership of the Senate.
“Instead, he is coming up with mendacious reasons on why the Chief Judge of Federal High Court should ignore the request of the EFCC, seeking the transfer of its cases from Justice Taiwo Taiwo who curiously granted ex-parte order to restrain the Commission from performing its statutory duties.
“Incidentally, the EFCC has filed a detailed response against the judge’s restraining order and took up issues over the controversial interim order”, Orilade said
The commission advised Saraki to leave the judiciary out of his travail, even as it wondered why issues that transpired during the confirmation of Magu by the Senate in 2016, will feature now.
“While waiting for the careful response of the CJ over the Commission’s request, we wish to advise ex- Senate President to carry his cross and allow the judiciary to performs its constitutional role.
“It is preposterous for the ex-Senate President to be raising issues on what transpired during the confirmation of EFCC boss in 2016 when he is no longer in charge of the Senate in 2019.
“It is too late for him in the day, to be claiming innocence over the confirmation saga when every Nigerian knew what transpired under his watch.
“The Commission under Magu, has moved on and will not be distracted over mundane issue” Orilade said.
He added thus: “Let it be stated in unequivocal terms that the investigation of Saraki’s stewardship, whether as a former Senate President or as a former governor of Kwara State, has absolutely nothing to do with the non-confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC.
“While the EFCC will not allow itself to be drawn by Saraki to take up issues with him on the pages of newspapers, it is pertinent to once again state in clear terms that the probes being carried out by the EFCC are nothing personal, but all about enthroning probity in governance, and letting leaders know that even out of office, they will be held accountable for their stewardship.
“Again, it is worth reminding Saraki that he has no need to be scared of the EFCC and its leadership as long as he believes he has a clear conscience.
“He should, therefore, rather than running from pillar to post, allow the law to take its course”.
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